I know many parents that have trouble watching the news, or reading true crime stories, or doing things like that any more. They could before they had kids. Now, with kids, it’s too hard.
Every story you see about an abused child could be your child. Every teenage drug overdose could, someday, be your teenager. The kinds of things that can go horribly wrong is, honestly, too much sometimes.
I said to a friend at work, who has two adult boys who seem to be nice, well-adjusted, good, employed kids: “You must thank God every day that your boys turned out well.” And she said she did. Every day, she gives thanks that they are healthy, happy, productive members of society.
The sheer number of things that can go wrong is breathtaking, and the fact that probability is on your side is not particularly comforting. Sure, way more kids turn out fine than turn out to be screwed up. But the path to getting there—to knowing that your child is going to be OK—is terrifying and heartbreaking and really freaking hard. When you’re a single parent, it’s even harder, because it is 125% on YOU. There’s no one sharing the fear—sure, there are other people who love your child, and hope that your child succeeds, but it’s not the same.
I watch Elle sometimes. She’s so inquisitive and thoughtful and funny. She’s increasingly adventurous. She remembers things—so many things, in some cases things I wish she’d forget. She’s constantly asking questions and more and more drawing her own conclusions. She has clearly stated likes and dislikes. She is taking on the world every day, figuring out her place in it, and claiming it for her own.
I hope all of that energy and intelligence and sass goes in the right direction. I hope I can help her become the amazing woman I know she can be. It’s a serious responsibility, and it’s a privilege.